With the Washington Redskins announcing they are beginning the process of officially changing their name, it seems like almost a foregone conclusion the Cleveland Indians are going to do the same relatively soon.
Manager Terry Francona basically committed the franchise to it.
“I know that we’re never trying to be disrespectful,” Francona said. “But I don’t think that’s a good enough answer today. I think it’s time to move forward.”
“I know that we’re never trying to be disrespectful. But I don’t think that’s a good enough answer today. I think it’s time to move forward.”#Indians Manager Terry Francona’s full answer on the team’s name: pic.twitter.com/6I7XX3oA5d
— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) July 5, 2020
When your manager says something like that, there’s no going back. It might not happen this year or next year, but I’d bet a hefty sum of money they will no longer be the Cleveland Indians in five years’ time.
They even held full team meetings on Tuesday to discuss a name change.
Indians had a meeting today – players, front office, Terry Francona, Paul Dolan – in which they had an open forum to voice their opinions about the team’s name change.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) July 21, 2020
So, with that being said, what could they change their name to?
The most popular option that has been floated around the internet is a revival of the Cleveland Spiders.
The Spiders were a professional baseball team in Cleveland in the late 19th century, a time where there were only 16 teams and Major League Baseball wasn’t even close to what it is today.
The Spiders are the team that Cy Young — yes that Cy Young — made his debut with in 1890. They are also the team that holds the All-Time record for most losses in a season, going 20-134 in 1899, their final year of existence. Why that happened would take too long to explain, so if you’re curious I’ll redirect you to this video from Foolish Baseball on YouTube, it’s great.
Bringing back this name makes a lot of sense for Cleveland. The name already has a history in the city, the old logo is really solid and there are a lot of more modern ways it could go. Most of all though, it’s not problematic.
Before the Cleveland Indians were a thing, there was a professional baseball team called the Cleveland Spiders in the late 1800’s. If they do end up changing their name, I think this is easily the best option. It still incorporates city history and their logo was absolute fire 🔥 pic.twitter.com/FSUvKqJUrc
— Trevor Holton (@trevholton25) July 4, 2020
Another name that has been floated around Twitter by some is the Cleveland Dobys, which would name the team after Larry Doby. Doby was the second black baseball player to play in the MLB and the first to do so in the American League, and he did it with the Cleveland Indians. He actually made his debut the same year as Jackie Robinson, playing in 29 games towards the end of the season.
Some other name ideas from BetOnline.ag are the Cleveland Naps, the former name of the Indians back in the early 1900s, the Cleveland Guardians and the Cleveland Buckeyes.
Cleveland Indians new name odds (from @betonline_ag)
Wild Things 8/1
Blue Sox 9/1
Great Lakers 40/1
Steamers (off the board)
— McNeil (@Reflog_18) July 6, 2020
One of my personal favorites that would be fun (but not that logical) is the Cleveland Wild Things, named after Charlie Sheen’s character from the movie “Major League.” It’s one of my favorite baseball movies and if you haven’t seen it you have to, and while this would be fun, I don’t see any way it actually happens. Same thing goes for something like the Cleveland Cerranos or the Cleveland Jobus — they’d be fun, but it’s probably not the best name for the team.
Changing the name of a franchise is a big decision, so the biggest thing is finding a name that will work for ideally over half a century.
My pick would be the Cleveland Spiders, but a couple of the other names above would work too like the Cleveland Dobys of the Cleveland Buckeyes.
One thing is for sure though, the Cleveland Indians name will be no more very soon.